A new round of changes is coming to 23rd Ave corridor between John and Roanoke streets starting next year. Yes, technically, it’s 24th Ave between Helen and Roanoke. Phase 3 construction of the 23rd Avenue Vision Zero project is likely to start in the spring or summer of 2018, but it won’t be nearly as disruptive as the first phase of the project, between John and Jackson streets, which took 21 months to complete, city officials say.
Phase 3 will continue the Seattle road diet strategy in an effort to reduce accidents and make roads safer for pedestrians. The biggest change in this phase will be between John and Boyer streets. Currently the road is two lanes in each direction. The redesigned road will have one lane going northbound (downhill), a center turn lane, and two lanes going southbound (uphill) the lane closest to the curb, however, will be bus only. SDOT hopes the new design will help address speeding in the corridor.
The bus only lane is designed to help keep bus travel time reliable, in advance of potentially placing a rapid ride bus on the road, though that’s not likely to happen until 2024. The bus only lane will continue to 23rd and Madison, where it will transition into the single lane southbound lane there now.
The stretch between Boyer and Roanoke will continue to be two lanes in each direction, a nod to the traffic volumes in that area around state 520. That area will get some improvements, along with the rest of the corridor.
These will include things such as spot repairs to pavement and sidewalks, upgrades to curb ramps, and possibly other pedestrian upgrades, said Dawn Schellenberg of Seattle Department of Transportation.
This phase of the project will be far simpler than the first phase. During that phase, the city used the construction as an opportunity to replace a century old sewer main as part of the work. This time around, there will be no such major disruption. The road will simply be re-striped for the new lanes, not torn up and replaced.
It’s too far in advance for the city to give specific timelines, but Schellenberg suggested it’s the sort of thing that can be done with a couple weekends worth of work and local disruptions, instead of months of closing the entire stretch of road. This time around, there’s not likely to be any long-term bus re-routes either – though there may be during those weekends.
Schellenberg noted that the smaller scale of this phase is due in part to budget constraints, and in part to the state is expecting to begin construction on 520 in the area.
In addition, Schellenberg and Jason Fialkoff, senior engineer for SDOT, said the city is going to consider adding traffic lights in the corridor. They said they’ve heard input from the community suggesting people might want lights added at the intersections of 24th Avenue and Lynn Street and also at 24th and Interlaken, though they’re not sure if it might be better at Interlaken Place or Interlaken Boulevard, and would like to hear ideas from residents.
This phase of the project, as proposed, will be funded by the 2015 Levy to Move Seattle, and Schellenberg said it would cost $3.5 million.
Meanwhile, the first three phases of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway are considered complete and the city has said it would be studying the impact on creating safer, calmer streets for biking and walking this year. The greenway’s network of side streets and paths runs on adjacent to 23rd Ave between E Roanoke on the north end and Rainier Ave S to the south. Planning for how best to connect the greenway to safer routes around Montlake continues, SDOT says:
For those keeping track of Phase 2 of the project, from South Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue South, construction could start as early as April 2018, and is expected to take a year. It will also change the road from four lanes to two lanes with a center turn lane. Phase 2 will also involve replacing sewer lines, adding landscaping, and other smaller improvements.
For residents who want more details about Phase 3 or want to give feedback about the proposed design, SDOT is holding an open house Thursday night, October 19th, from 5:30 to 7 PM at the Montlake Community Center.
You can learn more at seattle.gov.